Red Room Blog
20th May 2019
Poetry in First Languages on Dharawal
By Red Room Poetry
In this Year of Indigenous Languages, Red Room Poetry, with supporters Merrigong Theatre Co and Wollongong Art Gallery presented Poetry in First Languages for First Nations students on Dharawal Country.
First Nations students from Figtree Public School, Warilla North Public School, Port Kembla Public School, Dapto High School and Oak Flats High School met on Dharawal land on 7 and 8 May as part of Red Room Poetry’s Poetry in First Languages (PIFL) project. The two-day event connected Dharawal-based Gundungurra Custodian, Aunty Trish Levett together with Gunai poet Kirli Saunders and Gumea Dharawal Language Custodian Jacob Morris, to create poetry in language while learning about culture, art and belonging.
In 2019, we are presenting PIFL workshops in language on Gundungurra, Dharawal and Arrernte Countries as well Bundjalung, Gumea Dharawal, Dharawal, Ngunawal and Gadigal Countries, connecting with students and educators, poets and Language Custodians. See photos from the Dharawal workshops.
About Poetry in First Languages
The Poetry in First Languages program is led by Gunai poet Kirli Saunders with Red Room Poetry. Its aim is to strengthen First Nations students' connections to country, language and community, and to instill pride in cultural identities.
“PIFL offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity because, of the 39 schools and communities we visited in NSW in 2018, just two employed language custodians – so 95% of them had no access to First Nations language programs."
~ Kirli Saunders
Our PIFL project also creates employment opportunities for First Nations poets and artists, both emerging as established. Read poems commissioned for PIFL.